Homeless Man Who Cleans Streets Hopes to Inspire Others | NBC Southern California

Homeless Man Who Cleans Streets Hopes to Inspire Others

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    NEWSLETTERS

    KNBC-TV
    Todd Olin, who is homeless, picks up trash around Orange County and hopes to make a difference.

    Orange County is in the midst of a homeless crisis as the need to find housing grows, as does the number of people living on the streets.

    But one homeless man thinks he's found a solution.

    Homeless Man Tries to Make Difference in Orange County

    Homeless Man Tries to Make Difference in Orange County Homeless
    A homeless man in Orange County is making an effort to relieve the homeless crisis in his area by cleaning underpasses, bridges and any place he sees that is trashed. Vikki Vargas reports for the NBC4 News on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016.
    (Published Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016)

    Todd Olin calls himself "Todd the volunteer." He picks up trash in areas often ignored. He says it doesn't take much to make a difference and he believes he's doing just that.

    He says he doesn't need a resume, just a broom or a rake.

    "I do things that nobody else is going to do," says the homeless man. "And if I don't do it I know it will never be done."

    Olin cleans underpasses, bridges, railroad tracks and any place he sees a need.

    "Instead of standing on the off ramp with a sign, if you pick up trash, people more likely will give you money," he says.

    In his year and a half on the streets he has made a name for himself. He even has a gofundme page where strangers make donations and say "Thank you." He has turned down job offers because he believes his campaign could be followed by any homeless person willing to work.

    According to the American Civil Liberties Union Orange County's homeless crisis is far from solved. Today a former bus terminal became "The Courtyard," a place that will temporarily house 300 homeless people.

    "The courtyard is a response to a crisis," says Susan Price, the director of Care Coordination. "It's an intermediate solution to a much more complex issue."

    Eve Garrow, of the ACLU says it's only a pathway out of homelessness if housing is at the other end and that housing does not exist.

    Olin spends most nights in a park, on a bench. He spent a recent afternoon with a sponsor, who is fixing his bike for free.

    "He's on a great track," says Lance Larue, his sponsor. "I enjoy helping him out."

    His roadside work has spread across six cities. Garden Grove employees have been known to pick up the bags he leaves behind, leading to a gold merit coin from the police chief.

    Olin believes anyone who is homeless can do what he does.

    Olin was in a motorcycle accident and couldn't get to work. He lost his job but truly believes this is his calling. He's hoping others will follow and find ways to no longer be homeless.

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